Apathy: The number one killer of African Americans

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In the past two years, the United States has become aware of its flaws. We have slowly pulled at the band-aid that has covered the problem of –isms that we have. I am always hesitant to say that the past few years since the moral up rise in Ferguson was due to racism. I don’t deny that it may have been a contributing factor but I don’t think that was all that was exposed that night. I think the creation of the #Blacklivesmatter and #Justiceforall organizations became billboards for many people of color to say that enough is enough. Not just against racism, but classism, socialism, academicism, collectivism, capitalism, etc. with the help and voices of all colors.

Now let’s take it up a notch. You see, African Americans are killing themselves every day without an officer raising his gun or an argument with a rival gang gone wrong. We’ve been doing it for centuries and haven’t even cared.

You see the biggest killer of African Americans isn’t guns, gangs or guilty cops — it’s apathy.

That’s right folks. I said it. It is our own apathy that has caused so many to fall by the wayside. Before you tell me I don’t know what I’m talking about understand that the definition of apathy is to have a lack of interest, enthusiasm and concern.

So in essence we don’t care enough anymore about what happens to our brothers and sisters.

We don’t care enough to speak up, to vote, to show up at governmental meetings or to set the standard for our communities and those in them. We have become a culture hell bent on being content and not rocking the boat as long as we are taken care of.  When did this shift happen?

We went from work from sun up to sundown to help build this country and now we can’t even get up until the suns down. There were entire cities and neighborhoods built and sustained by African Americans. There were African American officials and business owners who catered to African American consumers and their needs. You see we built cities out of necessity because we couldn’t live and play where we worked, like Clearview and Hobson City. We literally went from creating our own cities to meet our needs to depending on any-city-of to meet our needs.

Legacies were created to be passed down and not to be sold to the highest bidder. Now we are taught that individualism is the way to go and that a select few will rise to the top and for those who don’t, that’s the way the cookie crumbles.

Men have gone from having the last word to not being able to speak. We have sat around and watched as they have gone from being sold as cattle to slave away on a farm to being sold as inmates to slave away in a prison cell. The irony of it all. Our men of today slaving away in a prison that was built by our men of the past who were slaves. We watch as they send our babies from public schools to prison on the pipeline. Instead of crying out we are content to sit through the state-funded preschool graduation and later join the prison ministry and sit through a GED graduation. Our men want to pop bottles and ball instead of saving and owning.

Recently, two African American brothers were pardoned by the North Carolina governor of the rape and killing of a girl in 1983. Henry McCollum, 51, and Leon Brown, 47, spent 30 years in jail on death row and sentenced to life, respectively, before being allowed to go free. The state awarded them each with $750,000 for time that they’ll never get back. So what does a year of your life cost? Roughly $25,000 according to the state. And while the money does make ends meet it is still considered just above the state’s poverty line of $23,283 for a family of four and $11,945 for individuals. Sadly, some African Americans don’t even make that much but are content to do nothing about it. Our children are in some of the poorest schools in the poorest neighborhoods but all we can think about is when the latest shoes come out, not when report cards are due to come home.

Ladies have gone from being ready snap on someone who calls them a bitch to being a self-proclaimed boss bitch. But if you aren’t really a boss that just leaves a bitch. They have become content to deal with being baby mama number 5 or the side chick instead of being the one and only. Our ladies have decided that it’s okay for our men to have side chicks that know their place as long as he stays at ours instead of demanding he get with it or get going. Today’s young ladies want to grow up to be trap queens instead of chasing corporate dreams. The want to carry bags with someone else’s name on it instead of signing their own names for their own property.

Yes, we are slowly but surely making ourselves, our culture and our worth obsolete. We have gone back to the minstrel dances that entertain the masses in hopes that we may be able to procure some fine items for making the people laugh. We are back to not having the talents and skills to provide for our families, to make a name for ourselves or to show that we are contributing citizens. We are back to being the nonthreatening Negro who obeys orders without a second thought, void of hopes, dreams and opportunity.

We are damn near close to killing ourselves because we are so indifferent to the measures that are being put in place to create a glass ceiling that, this time, we might not be able to breakthrough.

It’s time to wake up, pay attention and act. Your silence and inactivity just might kill you.

I’m just saying.

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